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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Alfred Edersheim (1825–1889)
Critical and Biographical Introduction
 
AMONG writers on Biblical topics Dr. Alfred Edersheim occupies a unique place. Bred in the Jewish faith, he brought to his writings the traditions of his ancestry. The history of the Children of Israel was a reality to him, who had known the Talmud and the Old Testament through the lessons of his boyhood, and had been taught to reverence the Hebrew sacred rites handed down through the ages. All the intangible, unconscious religious influences of his youth entered into the work of his manhood. And although this converted Rabbi wrote as a Christian, yet the Bible stories were colored and vivified for him by his Jewish sympathies. Thus his work had the especial value of a double point of view.  1
  Born in Vienna in 1825 of German parents, he studied at the university of his native city and in Berlin, finishing his theological education in Edinburgh. He became a minister of the Free Church of Scotland in 1849, passing over to the Church of England in 1875. In 1881 he received from Oxford an honorary A. M., and was for a time lecturer on the Septuagint at the university. He died in Mentone, France, on March 16th, 1889.  2
  The earlier writings of Dr. Edersheim consist almost entirely of translations from the German, and of Jewish stories written for educational purposes. Of his later works the most important are—‘The Bible History,’ his largest work, in seven volumes; ‘The Temple, its Ministers and Services as they were at the Time of Christ’; ‘Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ’; and a ‘History of the Jewish Nation after the Destruction of Jerusalem under Titus.’ From the evangelical point of view, his ‘Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah’ is of final authority, brilliantly exemplifying his peculiar fitness to be the interpreter of Jewish life and thought at the period of the rise of Christianity. He presents not only the story of the Christ of the Gospels, but draws a picture of the whole political and social life of the Jews, and of their intellectual and religious condition—a picture which his Rabbinical learning and his race sympathies make authentic. He wrote English with unaffected directness, embodying in the simplest forms the results of his wide scholarship. His books have a very wide and constant sale.  3
 
 
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